Career outlook for sport and exercise psychologist

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Starter salary

£20,000

Experienced salary

£48,000

Currently employed in Scotland

2,900

Starter salary

£20,000

Experienced salary

£48,000

Currently employed in Scotland

2,900

Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would study the mental and emotional effects of sport and exercise to help people reach their potential.

You would probably specialise in either sport or exercise, but you may work in both.

As a sports psychologist, you would work with everyone from amateurs to top professionals. You would help them with issues such as:

  • Dealing with nerves
  • Improving self-confidence
  • Coping with training and competing
  • Improving concentration
  • Staying motivated
  • Coping with injuries
  • Controlling aggression
  • Setting goals

You would work closely with people such as coaches, managers, nutritionists and physiotherapists.

As an exercise psychologist, you would find ways of getting the public to become more active and healthy.

You would:

  • Work in cardiac rehabilitation or GP exercise referral schemes
  • Promote the benefits of exercise by working with health promotion staff
  • Study the reasons some groups of people are more active than others

In both sport and exercise psychology, you would usually combine consultancy work with teaching and research, or with work in other areas, such as clinical or occupational psychology.

Working conditions

Hours

You would often work normal office hours, but you may also need to work in the evening and at weekends to fit in with training and competitions.

Environment

Some of your work would be office based, but you may need to travel to team premises, competition venues and clinics.

Travel

You may need to travel to team premises, competition venues and clinics.

UK employment status

Full-time

69%

Part-time

21%

Self employed

10%

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Filtering
  • Developing a plan
  • Analysing

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at What are my skills?

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You would need an honours degree in psychology (SCQF level 9/10) recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Or an honours degree in another subject (1st or 2:1) plus a BPS-recognised conversion course leading to the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) and BPS-accredited Masters (MSc) in Sport and Exercise Psychology.

To enter a psychology degree requires minimum of Highers at BBC and selection of Nationals or equivalent.

Courses must be approved by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), the British Psychoanalytical Council (BPC) or Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA).

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Science subjects (required by most courses)
  • Physical education
  • Social studies such as psychology

You will also need

Once graduated, membership of one of the psychotherapy professional organisation and registration on approved psychotherapist database is recommended.

It is essential you would work towards registration with the British Psychological Society (BPS)

All practising psychologists must register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

A psychology degree or conversion course leads to Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS and allows you to register with the HCPC and work under the title of clinical psychologist.